Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
When Neighbors made so much money it had to have a sequel, there were concerns that it may be a giant pile of garbage, like so many sequels to R-rated movies are these days. Thankfully, due to a clever premise and likeable characters worth checking in on after a few years, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is more 22 Jump Street than The Hangover 2.
Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne are back as Kelly and Mac, this time trying to sell their house in favour of a new home in an even more suburban area. Their new nemesis is Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) who is starting her own sorority in an act of rebellion against the existing Greek system. Former frat leader Teddy (Zac Efron) also returns because work as an Abercrombie and Fitch model isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The cast, just like in the first film, is excellent and Rose Byrne continues to play her character to perfection, in total contrast to so many unfortunate “nagging wife” type characters that bro-comedies are littered with.
After turning to the Greek system to make friends, Shelby is quickly turned off by the culture, unfair restrictions, and gross guys. So, she creates an unofficial sorority off-campus, allows anyone to pledge, and fights for a young woman’s right to do whatever, whenever without any required attendance at frat parties. Kelly and Mac have been through this before and aren’t going down without a fight. Cue the chaos!
No, it’s not as good as the original but it does have a more vibrant social commentary and even though some of the set pieces and jokes fail to land, it’s not for a lack of trying. The cast is game throughout.
An unexpected virtue of Sorority Rising is its political voice, which is hazy at times, but adds a surprising layer of depth to an otherwise routine sequel. There are as many gags and crude jokes as before, but to combat the familiar concept, the film wisely incorporates a refreshingly feminist perspective. Fighting for an equal right to party seems to work as a central theme and somehow, the social commentary and self-awareness are the best part of the whole thing. It’s just really hard not to enjoy this movie.